ABL Healthcare Member News & Industry Trendletter * April 6, 2021

>>> Larry Blocher, MD, JD, is CEO of BioOptions, which provides human tissues and biological materials to researchers and scientists for molecular and genomic research, including drug and biomarker discovery, validation of drug targets, and development of diagnostic tests and devices. BioOptions provides fresh tumor tissue, blood, and other biological fluids delivered the same day or overnight from their extensive network of physicians, hospitals, and clinical labs. The company also provides frozen and FFPE samples via its considerable biorepository. Its biospecimens are collected at facilities throughout the U.S. in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and ethical guidelines. Larry is a licensed physician and attorney with 25+ years of experience in healthcare and medical science as both a practicing physician and attorney. Since 2001, he has been assisting researchers at the leading biotech, pharma, and academic research centers in obtaining human biospecimens for their studies. As an entrepreneur, he has been an officer and founder at several healthcare-related companies, as well as VP of Network Development at UniHealth, UniMed Management Company. Larry has joined the ABL-Health OC Round Table.

>>> Melissa Hanna, JD, is Co-Founder and CEO of Mahmee, a comprehensive prenatal and postpartum care coordination platform that increases positive health outcomes for moms and babies, backed by Serena Williams and Mark Cuban. By using its proprietary HIPAA-secure technology, Mahmee's staff of certified and trained maternity support professionals are able to deliver proactive, ongoing education and guidance to new families everywhere at a fraction of the cost. Melissa has worked in operations and strategy at startups in healthcare, education, digital media, and consumer goods. Prior to launching Mahmee, in 2014, she was Assistant Director of the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center at Columbia Business School. Her modus operandi has always been to forge cross-industry collaborations and partnerships to solve big challenges, and she believes that equitable access to healthcare for women and children is a challenge we can all solve by working creatively together. Melissa has been featured in Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Cheddar TV, Black Enterprise, USA Today, and more. Named to Inc. Magazine's "2019 Female Founders 100" list, Melissa has joined the ABL-Health LA Round Table.

    To ensure the safety of our Members, these upcoming invitation-only events will be held via ZOOM. See your Round Table invitation for participation instructions, and the ABL.org Members Only website for all the Healthcare Round Table invitation specifics. (If you haven't already received an invitation to a ZOOM Table you would like to attend, please email [email protected] for details.)

  • 4/07 - ABL-Health OC Zoom Table - "Meet Orange County's Dr. Fauci," featuring UCI's Dean Bernadette Boden-Albala, DrPh
  • 4/13 - ABL-Health SV Zoom Table - "Scaling Nonprofits for a Value-Based Future," featuring Dolores Gomez, CEO, Mission Hospice & Home Care
  • 4/14 - ABL-Health SF Zoom Table - "Enabling Frontline Mental Healthcare," featuring Dave Haddick, CEO, PSYCHEeANALYTICS
  • 4/15 - ABL-Health OAK Zoom Table - "Ensuring Equity, Inclusion & Diversity at Kaiser Permanente," featuring Marcos Vasconcelos, Executive Director, Strategic Market Planning, and co-leader of the plan's commitment to "Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity"
  • 4/16 - ABL-Health LA Zoom Table - "Medi-Cal's CalAIM Initiative & Its Impact on You," featuring Greg Buchert, MD
  • Explore Membership in ABL's Executive Round Tables >>>
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HHS Wants You - to Encourage Vaccinations

                     Blog by Mimi Grant

While the COVID vaccine roll-out may have stumbled getting out of the gate in mid-December, already over 106 million Americans have been vaccinated, with over 61 million of us fully so. This is great news for those who don't want to join the nearly 3 million worldwide - and over half a million Americans - who've already died of COVID.

So with the US government footing the bill for the development and distribution of the drugs created under "Operation Warp Speed," and now providing them for free to everyone in the country over the age of 16 for Pfizer's, and over 18 for Moderna's and J&J's, and all age restrictions being lifted by mid-month - we should all be vaccinated by May. Right?

Turns out, now that we're past the major problems with supply and logistics for ending the modern plague, we have one more obstacle to confront: us. About a quarter of us don't want to be vaccinated. Given that experts estimate we need 70 to 80 percent of the population to have COVID-19 immunity through infection or vaccination, herd immunity will be difficult for the country to obtain, especially since children, who are ineligible for the vaccine, compose another 24% of the population, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. So if roughly a quarter don't want to be vaccinated and another quarter can't be yet, that leaves the country 50% vaccinated - nowhere near herd immunity. And most of the comments from those who are refusing to take it boil down to: they don't trust it.

So what to do? Create the COVID-19 Community Corps, a nationwide, grassroots network of local voices people know and trust to encourage their fellow Americans to get vaccinated. Vice President Kamala Harris and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy have already begun meeting with the founding members of the Community Corps. The first picture that caught my attention was taken of VP Harris and Dr. Murthy in a hybrid Zoom meeting with inter-faith leaders. Already more than 275 founding member organizations that have the ability to reach millions of Americans have been tapped to lead the program. These groups include health professionals, scientists, MLB, NFL, the PGA Tour, NASCAR, businesses, rural stakeholders, civil rights and union organizations, LatinX, Native and Tribal, Black, and LGBTQ+ leaders. Basically, Americans from all walks of life are being tapped to become leaders within their own communities to help get their friends, family, and neighbors vaccinated. Soon Americans will start seeing ads to promote vaccinations among key eligible groups in both English and Spanish. And Facebook is creating Social Media Profile Frames so members can share with their friends, family, and followers that they plan to get vaccinated - or already have been. And that's not all: HHS is airing TV ads to encourage vaccinations among key eligible groups in both English and Spanish.

Membership in the Community Corps is open to anyone - including me - so I joined, and you can, too. Just go to wecandothis.hhs.gov/covidcommunitycorps. Together, WE CAN DO THIS!


Alegre Home Care Partners with Solstice at Santa Rosa for "Quick Care"

Alegre Home Care has announced a partnership with Solstice at Santa Rosa's independent-living community, in which Solstice is utilizing the services of Alegre's Quick Care. This program offers independent seniors a variety of personal services to help make life just a little easier; and by sharing resources with other residents, Alegre can spread the cost of having a professional, state-licensed and registered personal attendant help with small tasks - without the usual 3-to-4-hour minimums most agencies require or the risks of hiring independent providers. (Charles Symes, OAK)

Anthem Blue Cross Provides $9+ Million to Tackle Covid & Health Inequities in California

Anthem Blue Cross California health plans and Foundation provided $9+ million in grants, sponsorships, and contributions from associates over the course of 2020 to help nonprofit organizations statewide, including to further the mission to eliminate health disparities, economic insecurity, racial inequality, and food insecurity across the state. Additionally, Anthem associates found new and innovative ways to contribute nearly 12,000 volunteer hours; an estimated 93% of support went towards addressing the physical and mental challenges Californians experienced as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. (David Pryor, MD, LA)

Axene & Kaufman Release "Payer Intelligence and Insights" Cloud App

Axene Health Partners and Kaufman Strategic Advisors have jointly developed a strategic data tool - called Payer Intelligence and Insights (Pi2) - to help healthcare-focused organizations better understand market-wide financial data. It enables users to leverage the vast amount of available financial information from any payer in any state for any line of business by accessing data from 2,000+ health plans nationwide.
Meanwhile, in this article, Axene provides a sample of how its Market Blueprint Tool can summarize individual and small group markets in California. (John Price, SF)

Biospectal CEO Writes About the "6 P's of Medicine" in Forbes

Eliott Jones, CEO of Biospectal, wrote a recent article in Forbes - The Six P's Of Medicine: How Healthcare Technology Will Transform Access to Care and Enable Better Patient Outcomes, in which he explores how today's six P's work to provide better data, healthcare, and patient outcomes. The 6 P's are: Personalized, Precision, Predictive, Preventive, Patient Participatory Medicine, and Platform - enabled by health monitoring technologies. "Some might argue these changes will damage the doctor-patient relationship and let technology do the hard work," Eliott says. "I believe they'll improve doctors' understanding of their patients' condition because they'll now have access to data and vital parameters collected in the patient's real-life setting. All these collective changes will have a tremendous positive effect on the cost of healthcare, patient outcomes and doctor-patient relationships. Patients will contribute to and be involved in their health in a way that hasn't existed before because of real-time feedback." (Eliott Jones, SV)

Choice in Aging CEO Participates in Senator's Town Hall on Senior Issues

Debbie Toth, CEO of Choice in Aging, recently served as a panelist in a Virtual Town Hall, hosted by Senator Bill Dodd, on Senior Issues & COVID-19: watch a video replay of the event here, which also included Kim McCoy Wade, Director of California Department of Aging, and Frank Nelson, Regional Manager of HCAP.
Also, watch recent episodes of "Dishing with Debbie" here, including interviews with Daphne Muse; Habiba Palyal & Gina Velez; Beth Hernandez; Bette Boatmun & Nancy Parent; and Shirley Krohn. (Debbie Toth, OAK)

Cigna Foundation Launches New Health and Well-Being Grant Program

In a grant cycle running until April 23, the Cigna Foundation recently announced an open call for applications for its new Health and Well-Being grant program. In 2021, the Foundation plans to award $3+ million in grants to support non-profits and community organizations focused on addressing improving access to care and eliminating health disparities. Additional opportunities to apply for this grant program will be available throughout the year.
Meanwhile, in one of the first nationwide COVID-19 claims analyses conducted by a health plan, Cigna explores how the impact of the pandemic has altered the course of healthcare for its customers. (Chris De Rosa, OC)

Competitive Health: #163 on Inc. List of California's Fastest-Growing Private Companies

Inc. magazine has ranked Competitive Health #163 on its second-annual "Inc. 5000 Regionals: California" list of the fastest-growing California-based private companies - moving up from #201 last year. Between 2017 and 2019, these 250 private companies had an average growth rate of 535% and, in 2019 alone, they employed 40,000+ people and added nearly $7 billion to the California economy. (Kim Darling, OC)

Covered California Highlights Key American Rescue Plan Provisions

Covered California has released new data and announced new partnerships to highlight how the American Rescue Plan can benefit millions of Americans, including 3 million in California. The Plan lowers healthcare premium costs for people who get coverage through ACA marketplaces across the nation, by providing new and expanded subsidies. A Covered California analysis finds that an estimated 25 million Americans could potentially benefit from the new law. (Kathy Keeshen, JD, SF)

El Camino Health Nationally Recognized as a Best Maternity Care Hospital by Newsweek

El Camino Health's hospital in Los Gatos has been named to Newsweek's 2021 list of "Best Maternity Care Hospitals," - one of fewer than 225 to receive the accolade. The distinction recognizes facilities that have provided exceptional care to mothers, newborns, and their families, as verified by the 2020 Leapfrog Hospital Survey. Rigorous standards include achieving lower rates of C-sections, early elective delivery, and episiotomy, as well as assuring bilirubin screening for all newborns and blood clot prevention techniques for mothers delivering via C-section. (Cecile Currier, SV)

Elemeno Health Makes Presentation to SXSW Innovation Consortium

At the recent virtual SXSW, Arup Roy-Burman, MD, CEO of Elemeno Health, participated in the Texas Global Health Security Innovation Consortium, in a roundtable called "The Aftermath of COVID-19: The Hospital of the Future & Technologies for Frontline workers." Watch Arup's 6.5-minute presentation here. (Arup Roy-Burman, MD, OAK)

Excell Home Care CEO to Debate Use of Hydrotherapy in Wound Care

Jennifer Ty, CEO of Excell Home Care, is participating in Vein Week, April 5-11, presented by Venous-lymphatic World International Network Foundation, a worldwide organization for healthcare practitioners. On April 6, Jennifer will take part in a discussion and debate on the use of evidence-based hydrotherapy in wound care, along with Sergio Gianesini, Abdul Seckam, and Rob Canfer. (Jennifer Ty, DNP, OC)

GeBBS Healthcare Solutions' Webinar to Discuss Better Data Management

On April 15, at 10:30 a.m., GeBBS Healthcare Solutions and RISE Health will co-present a webinar - Insourced or Outsourced: Take Control of Your Risk Adjustment and HEDIS Initiatives, which will address the strategy to achieve better data management through constantly evolving requirements and changes. (Gabe Stein, LA)

GSB Health Management Solutions Suggests Steps to Alleviate Health Inequities

In 3 ways health plans can begin to meaningfully address health equity, Greg Buchert, MD, of GSB Health Management Solutions, discusses several strategies health plan executives can implement to help rectify health inequity. In summary, they include: 1. Start internally, invite clinical or call center staff to bring real-life member stories to meetings to help those in administrative positions better understand what's being seen in the field every day. 2. Create and utilize member advisory committees which include both members and community-based organizations serving similar clients. 3. Have administrators participate in community activities and work with media-based organizations to get the word out about health equity. (Greg Buchert, MD, OC)

HumanGood Awarded $5.25 Million for Affordable Housing from Dept of Treasury

HumanGood has received a $5.25 million award from the Capital Magnet Fund, of the US Department of the Treasury, to finance the development of affordable housing in California, Washington, and Pennsylvania. For this grant, HumanGood has created a pipeline of ten projects that will preserve and create 700+ affordable age-restricted rental units.
Also, HumanGood in partnership with Inglis Housing Corporation has secured financing for an affordable housing community in suburban Philadelphia, with 32 units for individuals 55+ years, 8 units for physically disabled individuals of any age, and 4 units reserved for physically disabled individuals 55+ years. (Tara McGuinness, OAK)

Inglewood Imaging Center Trademarks "Less Squeeze More Accuracy" & Achieves Superior Physics Scores

Inglewood Imaging Center (IIC) has received trademark approval from the US Patent & Trademark Office for its slogan, "Less Squeeze More Accuracy." IIC's new mammogram system physics testing determined that its compression rates were 48% less than found on its prior system (16 lbs of pressure vs. 30), and its 3D images support accuracy not found on digital, reducing patient call-backs.
Also, IIC's new wide-bore, high-channel MRI system has achieved a 95% radiology physics score - one of the highest in the state. And IIC has modernized its patient-intake screening experience to a visual one, with the goal of reducing language disparity barriers to care that may exist for non-native speakers and the elderly.
Meanwhile, CEO Brad Schmidt's latest short, informational videos include:
>> Pet Scan: how accurate "landing coordinates" are accomplished in Radiolgy and nuclear medicine - click to watch.
>> "Visually see" Alzheimer's Disease using modern day PET imaging - click to watch.
>> How osteoporosis is imaged using Bone Density (DEXA) imaging - click to watch.
(Brad Schmidt, LA)

Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers Among U.S. Best, Per Newsweek

Six Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers are listed in Newsweek's "World's Best Hospitals 2021" report, including KP Los Angeles, San Diego, San Diego Zion, Santa Clara, and Woodland Hills, and Moanalua Medical Center in Hawaii - noted for their consistent excellence in patient outcomes and experience, distinguished doctors, expert nursing care, and state-of-the-art technology. Each of the six hospitals were also honored as best hospitals for infection prevention, as they performed above the national average based on six different measures. (Marcos Vasconcelos, OAK)

King & Spalding Deemed Tops for Client Service

BTI Consulting Group has ranked King & Spalding (K&S) among the top 12 firms on its "BTI Client Service 30 list," which recognizes "elite firms [that] outperform everyone else" in providing "the best of the best in client service."
Meanwhile, in its Client Alert - Medicare Coverage Breakthrough Delayed - K&S reports: "To the dismay of the medical device industry, in an Interim Final Rule published in the Federal Register on March 17, 2021, CMS delayed the effective date of a groundbreaking Medicare coverage regulation issued in the final days of the Trump Administration." (Marcia Augsburger, JD, SF, & Travis Jackson, JD)

KMD Working with John Muir Health to Create True Outpatient Center

KMD Architects has provided photos of its current project with John Muir Health to transform existing medical offices into "a true Outpatient Center." Goals and priorities include the development of a higher-acuity Urgent Care department, creating better circulation and adjacencies between Advanced Urgent Care, Lab and Imaging to support an integrated process flow, providing additional space for specialty and primary care clinics, considering a connection to a potential John Muir Health hospital on property to the south, and planning for phased construction. (Rob Matthew, SF)

LifeLong Medical Care Lauded in CNN Feature

CNN recently spotlighted LifeLong Medical Care, in How a Bay Area clinic is providing vaccines to people experiencing homelessness, hailing them for working with local officials to bring Covid-19 vaccines directly to unhoused people. And, before the clinic began offering vaccines, it had also mastered administering Covid tests to those who need it. For example, LifeLong has spent over six months visiting a West Oakland encampment to build relationships with people who live there. As a whole, LifeLong has vaccinated 13,000+ patients [not just homeless] so far, according to CNN. (Mike Stacey, MD, OAK)

LigoLab Adds LIS Functionality and Other Enhancements to TestDirectly

LigoLab announced that its direct-to-consumer platform, TestDirectly, is now equipped with Laboratory Information System (LIS) functionality that makes it a lightweight point-of-care option for low-volume testing facilities. For larger facilities processing thousands of samples a day, TestDirectly integrates with all LIS and Revenue Cycle Management systems to boost testing capacity and improve turnaround times. Other recent enhancements to TestDirectly include the ability to link multiple family members to one account, and the on-demand download of travel documents for air travel. To date, the TestDirectly network, made up of labs, specimen collection centers, urgent care facilities, and outpatient clinics throughout the U.S., has collected, processed, and reported nearly seven million COVID-19 tests. (Suren Avunjian, LA)

Mahmee CEO Interviewed on Entrepreneurs RISING

In a recent Entrepreneurs RISING episode, Mahmee CEO, Melissa Hanna, explains how her company is digitizing and linking mother and baby medical records from conception through first birthday, with the goal of providing more equitable access to better healthcare across the U.S.
Meanwhile, Melissa was a speaker and panelist at the recent 2020 Mom Annual Forum - The 2021 Reset: Redesigning Policy and Systems So All Mothers Can Thrive - for which registration will stay open post-event through April 8, so those who wish to gain access to event recordings may do so. (Melissa Hanna, JD, LA)

Mazzetti Discusses Designing Healthcare Microgrids in Industry Journal

A recent Health Facilities Management magazine article - Designing health care microgrids - includes quotes and input from Mazzetti CEO Walt Vernon. While healthcare facilities have always had some form of on-site energy generation, the article explains, rapidly emerging new technologies and the growing desire for reliable power and cleaner energy sources have put a renewed focus on more sophisticated microgrids, particularly those using renewable energy components.
And, recent articles by Walt include: The Moral Determinants of - ENGINEERING and Loadshifting: a way to Engineer Energy Economics.
Plus, Walt contributed to: Roadmap to improve and ensure good indoor ventilation in the context of COVID-19. (Walt Vernon, JD, SF)

Mission Hospice's Online Event to Define Hospice vs Palliative Care & How to Choose

On April 8, from 2-3:30 p.m., Mission Hospice & Home Care will present an online seminar - Understand the difference between hospice and palliative care, and the information needed to make the correct decision, in which experts will cover the differences between the two, the right choice for situations, when and how to get a palliative care consultation, and more. (Dolores Gomez, SF)

Nelson Hardiman: Harry Nelson's Expertise Featured in Broadcast & Print

Harry Nelson, JD, of Nelson Hardiman (NH), was recently interviewed on KTLA5 Morning News, discussing the California Blue Shield vaccine contract, as well as money and politics.
Also, Harry appeared on Spectrum News 1 regarding the CDC relaxing social distancing guidelines for younger children.
And, Law 360 talked to Harry about Purdue Pharma's restructuring proposal which allocates a $4.38 billion opioids settlement.
Meanwhile, NH published a Client Alert: Telehealth Waivers - Where Are We Now? (Harry Nelson, JD, LA)

On Lok Announces May 13 Virtual Gala

On May 13, from 5-6 p.m. Pacific, On Lok will present its annual On Lok Celebrates, to be held virtually this year, and at no charge. For 50 years, On Lok has helped Bay Area seniors remain active and at home, and this annual gala brings together friends and community to support its programs. On Lok will release three new videos, have a live auction with exciting and unique travel and food experiences, and more. (Grace Li, SF)

OneLegacy, Donate Life Hollywood & CBS Launch Campaign on Living Kidney Donations

The OneLegacy Foundation's Donate Life Hollywood initiative and CBS have created a public service announcement, encouraging people to consider becoming a living kidney donor.
And, Donate Life said it will sponsor a float in the 2022 Rose Parade on New Year's Day, following the recent pronouncement that plans are underway for the parade's return next year. The Donate Life float is produced by the OneLegacy Foundation and made possible thanks to dozens of sponsoring donation, transplant, healthcare, and family care organizations and individuals. The 2022 Rose Parade will mark the 19th consecutive year that Donate Life has been part of the Rose Parade experience. (Tom Mone, LA)

PreludeDx Enters into Preferred Provider Agreement with MultiPlan, Inc.

Prelude Corporation (PreludeDx) has entered into an agreement with MultiPlan, Inc., a leading provider of healthcare cost management solutions, to participate in MultiPlan's primary and complementary networks. As such, 60+ million members and nearly 1 million providers will have access, with discounted rates, to DCISionRT, the only test to predict personalized recurrence risk and radiation therapy benefit for patients with ductal carcinoma in situ.
Meanwhile, PreludeDx presented data at the Society of Surgical Oncology 2021 International Conference on Surgical Cancer Care: the study validated the clinical utility of the DCISionRT biosignature to assess ipsilateral breast event risk after breast conserving surgery and the benefit of radiation therapy. (Dan Forche, OC)

Providence Spin-out DexCare: $20M in Oversubscribed Series A; Delivers First Operating System for Digital Care

Newly formed DexCare, Inc. announced a $20 million investment led by Define Ventures and including Providence, Frist Cressey, Kaiser Permanente, and SpringRock Ventures. DexCare, a Platform-as-a-Service, is an intelligent digital care operating system that manages health system capacity and demand across all lines of care. Concurrent with funding, DexCare has been spun out as a separate company after being incubated at Providence within its Digital Innovation Group. (Marcee Chmait, LA)

Royal Ambulance CEO Quoted in Forbes Article on Core Values

A recent Forbes article - Why Core Values Matter (And How To Get Your Team Excited About Them) - quotes Steve Grau, CEO of Royal Ambulance, whose company was recently awarded as one of Glassdoor's 2021 Best Small and Medium Companies to Work For. In the article, Steve says: "Your values and mission are what ultimately drive your team's performance. When your core values are truly ingrained in your way of doing business, every decision will be made with those values in mind. This helps align every decision with your brand and what it hopes to accomplish. It creates accountability to yourself and others - and customers will see that in every interaction you have with them." (Steve Grau, SV)

Satellite Healthcare Opening New, State-of-the-Art Watsonville Center

Satellite Healthcare has announced that its Watsonville, CA treatment center is moving to a new, state-of-the-art facility, just moments away from Watsonville Community Hospital. Satellite has added more treatment stations outfitted with new, extra-comfortable treatment chairs, allowing for greater scheduling flexibility, plus plenty of parking, new flat-screen TVs, and more. It will offer both Center Hemodialysis and Nocturnal Center Hemodialysis; plus the staff speaks six different languages: English, Spanish, Tagalog, Portuguese, Ilocano, and Bisaya. (Jim Glafkides, SV, & Bernadette Vincent, OAK)

Savi Group Reports on the Future of Value-Based Care Models

In The Future of Value-Based Care Models, Savi Group discusses several tools used in value-based care, including preventive screenings, higher-quality care, and a focus on overall well-being.
And, in How Digitization Boosts Patient Satisfaction, Savi Group declares that, by now, we have the tools needed to reduce payment delays and increase transparency for patients looking to understand their healthcare bills.
Click here to read other recent articles from Savi, including "Managing Physician Burnout in Challenging Times" and "How to Run Your Practice Like a Modern Business." (Sumit Mahendru, OC)

VivaLNK's Survey Affirms that Remote Patient Monitoring is Set to Expand Rapidly

VivaLNK has unveiled the results of its survey of hospitals and clinics on their opinions about the current state of remote patient monitoring (RPM). Findings include: 43% believe RPM adoption will be on par with in-patient monitoring in five years, and 35% believe it will surpass in-patient monitoring in this time. 20% noted having already adopted RPM, and another 23% plan to adopt within 12 months. Regarding remote data collection, 90% indicated that continuous, 24-hour data is important when compared to episodic data. The biggest challenge to adoption is cost, and 55% believe that reimbursement is essential to the overall success of RPM. Re: electronic health record integration, 65% said it's essential to widespread adoption.
Meanwhile, CEO Jiang Li, Ph.D., wrote How Remote Patient Monitoring and Biomarkers Are Changing in Clinical Research, published in MedTech Intelligence. (Jiang Li, Ph.D., SV)

Wipfli Honored by Accounting Today & Oracle NetSuite + Offers On-Demand Webinars

Wipfli has again been ranked among the top 20 accounting and consulting firms by Accounting Today, and with an increase in net revenue to $401 million, also ranked above average in net revenue growth among other ranked firms.
Also, Wipfli has been awarded the NetSuite 5-Star Award by Oracle NetSuite, in recognition of the firm's expertise in a wide range of industries, its robust technology consulting practice, and its dedication to client service.
Meanwhile, watch Wipfli's recent healthcare-related webinars on-demand here, including "Strategic Planning - Creating a durable plan to thrive, even during disruption" and "Audit requirements for recipients of HHS Provider Relief Funds." (Jeff Johnson & John Dao, OAK, & Steve Rousso)

Eckert & Ziegler to Start Development of Radioisotope Production Facility in China

Eckert & Ziegler (EZ) has signed an investment agreement with the Administrative Committee of Jiangsu Jintan Economic Development Zone (PR China) for the acquisition and commercial development of 13.300 square meters of industrial-use land. Subject to governmental and regulatory approval in China, it will house various radiopharmaceutical and radioisotope production suites and EZ's administrative headquarter for the greater China area. At a later stage, it will also serve as the operational basis for maintenance crews and EZ's different technical divisions. (Frank Yeager, ABL-Tech SGV)

FCC Approves Process for Distributing Nearly $250 Million More for Telehealth Services

On March 29, 2021, the FCC unanimously approved the process for distributing $249.95 million in additional funding to healthcare providers to help cover the costs of telecommunication services and connected devices during the COVID-19 pandemic (Round Two). The money was appropriated by Congress in December 2020, as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, with the FCC now approving the process for distribution which will employ a single application deadline for all new applicants. (King & Spalding Health Headlines, 4/5/21: https://kslawemail.com/128/7759/pages/art4.asp?sid=6339b7d9-b6d9-4657-a157-15189c8b52aa)

Biden's $2 Trillion Infrastructure Plan: Several Points for Healthcare Leaders

The White House on March 31 unveiled an approximately $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan that includes expanding access to long-term care services and other healthcare-related measures. Among other things, the proposal provides $18 billion for upgrading veterans hospitals and clinics, and includes $400B to expand access to home- or community-based care for older Americans and disabled people under Medicaid. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/biden-s-2-trillion-infrastructure-plan-5-notes-for-healthcare-leaders.html)

Meet New HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra

The Senate has confirmed Xavier Becerra as the next HHS secretary. He will lead a $1+ trillion agency with 80,000 employees. He has served as attorney general of California since January 2017, and earlier served 24 years in Congress as a member of the House of Representatives, plus one term as a representative in the California Legislature. Becerra has long supported single-payer healthcare, and more recently said he supports "Medicare for All" proposals put forth by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. During Senate confirmation hearings, Becerra indicated his support for permanent telehealth expansions. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/meet-new-hhs-secretary-xavier-becerra-5-things-to-know.html)

HHS Revokes Arkansas and New Hampshire Medicaid Work Requirements

On March 17, HHS notified Arkansas and New Hampshire officials that it was withdrawing its approval of demonstration projects which had permitted those states to impose work requirements as a condition for eligibility for Medicaid benefits. (King & Spalding Health Headlines, 3/22/21: https://kslawemail.com/128/7712/pages/article-4.asp?sid=02fd5c88-03ae-4e15-8f21-3941800c2b80)

Biden Announces Additional Actions to Respond to Anti-Asian Violence, Xenophobia and Bias

President Biden has announced new actions to respond to the increase in acts of anti-Asian violence, and to advance safety, inclusion, and belonging for all Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. They include establishing a COVID-19 Equity Task Force committee on addressing and ending xenophobia against Asian Americans: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/30/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-additional-actions-to-respond-to-anti-asian-violence-xenophobia-and-bias/

Congress to Get Another Shot at Telehealth Coverage for Specialists

A group of lawmakers has resubmitted a bill seeking to permanently expand Medicare coverage to telehealth services provided by physical and occupational therapists, audiologists and speech and language pathologists. (https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/congress-to-get-another-shot-at-telehealth-coverage-for-specialists)

Houston Methodist Implements Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccinations

Houston Methodist will make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for employees, with the first phase including managers and new hires. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/workforce/houston-methodist-implements-mandatory-covid-19-vaccinations.html)

California to Open Vaccinations to Everyone 16 & Older Starting April 15

California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced that the nation's most populous state would start vaccinating anyone - except those under 16, for whom vaccines have not yet been authorized - on April 15. (https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/california/california-to-expand-covid-19-vaccine-eligibility/2502564/)

'Vaccine Passports' Are Coming to California, But Some Residents Could Be Left Behind

For the first time, California state officials moved to adopt a policy that that would give residents who are vaccinated access to different events and activities than those who aren't. New requirements for a "vaccine passport" - showing proof of vaccination to attend gatherings like weddings, conferences, concerts or theater shows - set California apart from states looking to ban such requirements, and raise questions surrounding vaccine access and privilege. (https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/04/03/vaccine-passports-are-coming-to-california-but-some-residents-could-be-left-behind/)

The Vaccinated Can Travel, CDC Advises

The CDC has updated its travel guidelines to say people who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 can safely travel in the U.S. and overseas without self-quarantine or a coronavirus test, as long as they wear a mask in public spaces. This guidance does not change the guidelines for unvaccinated individuals. (https://www.rollcall.com/2021/04/02/cdc-fully-vaccinated-people-can-travel-safely/) (https://www.wsj.com/articles/cdc-says-travel-is-low-risk-for-fully-vaccinated-people-11617376809)

Study: COVID-19 Vaccine Safe During Pregnancy & May Protect Baby, Too

A study published recently in The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology shows the Covid-19 vaccines are not only safe and effective for pregnant and breastfeeding women, they may also offer some protection for their babies. (https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/04/02/983666339/study-covid-19-vaccine-is-safe-during-pregnancy-and-may-protect-baby-too)

What Claims from 150,000 Cigna Members Reveal About Common Diagnoses Post-COVID-19

A new study from Cigna found headaches, migraines, and chronic respiratory issues are some of the most common health diagnoses its members are reporting after recovering from COVID-19. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/payer-issues/what-claims-from-150-000-cigna-members-reveal-about-common-diagnoses-post-covid-19.html)

NIH Clinical Trial Evaluating Moderna COVID-19 Variant Vaccine Begins

An investigational vaccine designed to protect against the B.1.351 SARS-CoV-2 variant has been administered as part of a new Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating the vaccine candidate's safety and immunogenicity in adult volunteers. The vaccine was developed by ModernaTX, Inc. (https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-clinical-trial-evaluating-moderna-covid-19-variant-vaccine-begins)

HHS Launches $500,000 Contest for Design of New, Effective, Comfortable Masks for General Public Use

HHS has launched an innovation challenge competition encouraging American inventors to aid the nation's COVID-19 response by designing effective, comfortable face masks for personal use that resolve the common concerns people have about wearing masks. (https://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/news/Pages/mask-challenge-31mar2021.aspx)

COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects Reported by Women More than Men: Here's Why

The majority of side effects from the vaccine reported so far have been among women. This might be because women are more likely and willing than men to acknowledge symptoms like headache and fatigue, but there also may be a biological reason why women experience more severe side effects than men, experts say. (https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Wellness/covid-19-vaccine-side-effects-reported-women-men/story?id=76833500)

Amazon Care On-Demand Healthcare Offering to Expand US-Wide This Summer

Amazon said it will be expanding its Amazon Care pilot nationwide this summer, opening it up to companies of all sizes, in addition to its own employees. The model combines on-demand and in-person care. (https://techcrunch.com/2021/03/17/amazon-will-expand-its-amazon-care-on-demand-healthcare-offering-u-s-wide-this-summer/)

Doctor On Demand & Grand Rounds Form Multibillion-Dollar DigiHealth Company

Doctor On Demand plans to combine with Grand Rounds to form a "first of its kind patient-centric integrated virtual care company," officials announced. (https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/tech/doctor-demand-grand-rounds-combine-to-form-multibillion-dollar-digital-health-company)

Telehealth TVs Position Intermountain for the Future of Virtual Care

Intermountain Healthcare, a Salt Lake City health system, recently launched 1,200 devices that provide in-room virtual care through smart televisions equipped with two-way cameras and special microphones. The technology can simultaneously connect with other providers and family members, along with the ability to screen-share images and data on the display. (https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/telehealth/telehealth-tvs-position-intermountain-future-virtual-care)

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